Dr Samuel Furphy

BA (Hons), MA, PhD (Melbourne)
Research Editor, National Centre of Biography Senior Lecturer, School of History
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +61 2 6125 2358

Areas of expertise

  • Biography 210304
  • Australian History (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History) 210303
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History 210301


Sam Furphy is a historian based in the National Centre of Biography, School of History, with expertise in Australian colonial history, Aboriginal history, British imperial history, and biography. He works as a research editor for the Australian Dictionary of Biography and was a recipient (2014-17) of an Australian Research Council early career fellowship. His recent research has focussed on Indigenous Australian experiences of the home front during the world wars, and Aboriginal protectors in early colonial Australasia. He was the convenor of the 2018 Australian Historical Association Conference.

Sam is the author of Edward M. Curr and the Tide of History (2013), a biography of a pastoralist, stock inspector, memoirist and ethnologist, whose writings were influential in the Yorta Yorta native title case (1994-2001). He has edited or co-edited three books, most recently Aboriginal Protection and Its Intermediaries in Britain’s Antipodean Colonies (with Amanda Nettelbeck, 2019). Before joining the National Centre of Biography, he worked as a professional historian, writing several commissioned histories including Australian of the Year Awards: A Fiftieth Anniversary History (2010).

Researcher's projects

"A Due Observance of Justice? Protectors of Aborigines in Britain’s Australasian Colonies, 1837-1857" (ARC DECRA grant, 2014-17)

"Serving Our Country: A History of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Defence of Australia" (ARC Linkage grant, 2013-17)

Current student projects

Tess Gardner (PhD, supervisor) – Australians Journalist-Advisers in Republican China, 1897-1942

Mina Murray (PhD, supervisor) – Age of the Barri-ma: Tactics of Wiradjuri Warriors pre-1788-1850

Matthew Wrigley (PhD, associate supervisor) – Contact History of the Eastern Goldfields, Western Australia 1846-1900

Past student projects

Arnold Ellem (PhD, chair of panel) – A Changing Pattern in Lines: the introduction of barcode technologies into Australia, 1965-1980

Patricia Downes (PhD, advisor) – The Character and Influence of the Military Convicts Transported to Australia 1788-1868

Jacqui Donegan (PhD, advisor) – The Confectionary Kings: Robertson, Allen and Hoadley A collective biography, 1887-1967

Paul Irish (PhD, advisor) – Hidden in Plain View: Aboriginal historical places and people in Sydney

Georgia Appleby (Honours, supervisor) – Answering the Call: Aboriginal Military Service during World War II and the Fight for Civil Rights



Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  28 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers